Maine governor orders labor mural takedown
March 23rd, 2011
08:37 PM ET
12 years ago

Maine governor orders labor mural takedown

(CNN) - Maine Gov. Paul LePage ordered a 36-foot mural depicting the state's labor history be removed from the lobby of the Department of Labor headquarters building in Augusta, Maine, according to LePage's office.

The plan put forth by the Republican's administration also includes renaming several department conference rooms that carry names of pro-labor icons.

LePage press secretary Adrienne Bennett said discussions about the mural began months ago. After they received phone calls in opposition to the mural, his administration concluded the art showed favoritism toward a certain group.

"We understand the value of history and respect the artist, we are now exploring options of where it can go," Bennett said. "We want to find the appropriate place for it. We want to find it a home."

Bennett said the Maine Arts Commission will help find a suitable place for the art.

The 11-panel mural depicts labor scenes including a cobbler and a textile worker, and pro-labor organizations have used the action to criticize the governor.

A statement from the Maine AFL-CIO said removing the mural is an "insult to working men and women" and is another example of how LePage is putting politics before people.

"No matter what you name a room, no matter how many pictures you take down, the truth is that this state was built by and for working people and this move dishonors the generations of hard working Mainers who came before us," the statement said. "Paul LePage cannot erase our history, and he will not silence the voice of working people in Maine."

LePage, a first-term governor, was elected with 38 percent of the vote and Tea Party support in the November elections, defeating independent Eliot Cutler and Democrat Libby Mitchell.

Laura Boyett, the acting commissioner for the Maine Department of Labor, in a letter to her employees, said the department received feedback that the building is "not perceived as equally receptive to both businesses and workers," and is therefore removing the mural and renaming all of the conference rooms.

"If either of our two constituencies perceives that they are not welcome in our administration building and this translates to a belief that their needs will not be heard or met by this department, then it presents a barrier to achieving our mission," Boyett wrote.

- CNN's Nina Raja contributed to this report

Filed under: AFL-CIO • Maine
soundoff (104 Responses)
  1. Limbaugh is a liberal

    Yes! And remove all those murals of MLK as well, because they show favoritism towards one group while ignoring the HUGE plight of the rich white protestant American.
    I love how republicans claim to tout the 'values of working class America' only to trump that very same working class at every possible opportunity they get!
    Hey republicans! Why don't you also repress the United Auto Workers union as well! They are overpaid and over-benefited too you know!
    Oh wait, that would cost you votes and campaign contributions... Nevermind! (In case you haven't noticed, republicans too kiss up to unions... when it suits them. It's not just democrats. Republicans seem to have NO trouble whatsoever with the UAW and the benefit package that puts military veterans to shame!)

    March 24, 2011 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  2. Stu Steinberg

    What a piece of crap this guy is. This is exactly the kind of thing Hitler did in suppressing all things related to labor and unions. It is quite clear that the new "wave" of Republican governors are the new wave of Nazis, unwilling to brook any differing opinions or political ideology. As for the people of Maine who voted for this cretin, you get what you pay for.

    March 24, 2011 01:29 am at 1:29 am |
  3. JHA in Texas

    GOP Tea Party Revisionist going "Back in Time" and trying to erase / change history. There is no shame to recognize that American Workers are the foundation of your state and continue to be so today, pay them a little respect and leave the murals alone.

    March 24, 2011 01:38 am at 1:38 am |
  4. Pretzel Logic

    Yeah that'll get the job market booming. RECALL LEPAGE!

    March 24, 2011 01:41 am at 1:41 am |
  5. jinsequa

    Another Tea Party fool ensuring heavy sweeps by Democrats come 2012.
    Thank you Governor LePage...between you and the Governor of Wisconsin the lack of political acumen is truly apparent.

    March 24, 2011 01:54 am at 1:54 am |
  6. Daniel

    Wow. Talk about revisionism! How did these nuts get in the statehouses?

    March 24, 2011 01:56 am at 1:56 am |
  7. 60minuteman

    "Of the litttle people, by the little people, and only for the Rich Republican Corporate People"

    March 24, 2011 02:30 am at 2:30 am |
  8. Joel

    Well, if the Maine AFL-CIO is consistent, then they should have no problem with me painting a mural right next to it glorifying rich people, because they also played a role in making Maine what it is today. However, something tells me that the Maine AFL-CIO is not criticizing the Governor's action on any consistent basis other than expediency.

    March 24, 2011 02:39 am at 2:39 am |
  9. Elphaba

    It is a labor mural, not a religious one. There's no reason to remove it. Typical Republican. The world is in economic crisis and all the Republicans think about is quashing that which offends them.

    March 24, 2011 02:48 am at 2:48 am |
  10. AMERICA 1st

    Everybody has to be so politically correct lest they be hurting someones feelings! thats a bunch of garbage. so what if someone gets their feelings hurt or gets offended! GET OVER IT! i did!

    March 24, 2011 03:13 am at 3:13 am |
  11. Truth Dealer

    To anyone that bought the GOP propaganda last election , I bet you're feeling ashamed right about now ! This is utterly ridiculous ! This is what happen's when you elect extremist's to public office , you get complete nonsense ! I'm sure there are far more pressing matter's in the state but this Idiot is fixated on a painting ! Republican's have shown their true color's as of late and they are not very pretty ! This will teach you to vote in your best interest's ! The republican's are showing them selves once again to be corporate vampires !

    March 24, 2011 04:10 am at 4:10 am |
  12. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    I hope the voters remember this on election day!

    March 24, 2011 05:13 am at 5:13 am |
  13. GaryB

    What a waste of time and money. This is conservative political correctness at its most annoying. I own a business and I would have no problem meeting with government officials in a building with a mural that honors working Americans. Why does the minority-elected governor feel that he has to respond to the complaints of a few whiners?

    March 24, 2011 05:21 am at 5:21 am |
  14. richard in Arlington

    New Speak. Please change title of Governor to Ideologue in Chief.

    March 24, 2011 06:01 am at 6:01 am |
  15. BruceF

    The building in which he announced the decision was undoubtedly built by union trades and the desk at which he will sign the edict was probably made in China. He was elected with 38% of the vote. That about says it all

    March 24, 2011 06:19 am at 6:19 am |
  16. brim

    Let's see Paul Lepage the village jester spending more money to go backward with no respect to the history of Maine or the rights of it's people. Let's take down pictures of working people because you respect them so much! Really your showing how well big money has bought the village and the jester!

    March 24, 2011 06:40 am at 6:40 am |
  17. Freddy

    The class warfare heats up – it's not a war against government workers, it's a war against ALL workers and their unions. The GOP was always the pro-business party, but now it's going crazy.

    If the Dems are smart, they will seize this issue and nationalize it. Every worker should understand what happens when you sit out an election and let the other side win.

    March 24, 2011 07:12 am at 7:12 am |
  18. Tymewayster

    Is this CNN or "The Onion?" What's next, changing "Main Street" because it sounds like the Mainstream media? Enough already – make jobs your number one priority rather than politics, governors!

    March 24, 2011 07:15 am at 7:15 am |
  19. Dave

    These tea-party/Republican idiots get dumber by the minute. I thought their mantra during the election was "jobs, jobs, jobs." Well, what are you people doing about it other than blaming others? What are your plans? The truth is nothing and nothing. When morons like LePage are elected this is what we get.

    March 24, 2011 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  20. Union Guy

    I must agree that it is inappropriate. Take it down.

    March 24, 2011 07:22 am at 7:22 am |
  21. Scott

    Whats next for the republican / tea party jackbooted thugs.....repeal of womans right to vote?

    March 24, 2011 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  22. DAW, NC

    Wow lets name them the pro business, anything goes for jobs, no matter what rooms. I am sure that will satisfy some people that seem to have a lot of influence, I mean money.

    March 24, 2011 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  23. AlexM

    This has got to be the dumbest thing I've heard yet. The Tea Party is the worst thing that has ever happened to politics in this country. Nothing but a bunch of ideological lunatics who want to dismantle our society piece by piece until there's nothing left but state-run anarchy. This is not 1776. We can't return to a 13 colony nation. We have many more states now, many more people, and a much more complicated system that needs to be reformed, not undone.

    March 24, 2011 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  24. dee

    Great Deal, communism in America has begun! Maine is such a Awsome place to visit. To bad the people of Maine vote for the new Mafia,Gop and their Fledglings,The "Teadrinkers". American voters, Scare the hell out of me!!!!!! Don,t let the "Rich" own this country,or were DOOMED.

    March 24, 2011 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  25. johnmccain

    This is just beyond insane. The GOP creates the classes as workers and business, which shouldn't be. When convenient, they praise the "hard working" people. In this case, they despise them. Truly disgusting.

    March 24, 2011 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
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